By Nicolas N Ortega
Everyone's favorite spooky holiday would not be complete without the warm glow of a carved pumpkin twinkling from the front stoop or inside the windows. However, the favorite Halloween family tradition of carving out a plump, orange pumpkin has evolved significantly over the years. Pumpkin carving is no longer the simple knife-and-spoon enterprise of our parent's generation; the jack-o-lantern has become a veritable art form, with stunning new designs that push the limits of this humble squash!
There are several categories of stencils and patterns that have become increasingly popular:
Portrait Pumpkin Carving Patterns
Who wouldn't want their face immortalized on a pumpkin? New portrait designs include everyone from traditional Halloween characters like Frankenstein and Dracula, movie characters, and even photo-realistic patterns for celebrities. Iconic figures like Marilyn Monroe, Michael Jackson, and the Mona Lisa are common sights in pumpkin carving competitions, as well as characters from modern television and film series. Patterns for animated characters from comics and movies also look fantastic lit up, and usually utilize bold lines that are more forgiving for the novice carver. Will Spiderman, Hello Kitty, Homer Simpson, Zoidberg, or the Hulk be making an appearance on your pumpkin?
Landscape Pumpkin Carving Patterns
New and intricate pumpkin patterns allow the ambitious carver an unprecedented level of detail in creating cityscapes, landscapes, and any other structures imaginable. And these detail-oriented patterns aren't just limited to the real world: sci-fi elements are becoming hugely popular. With the right pattern, time, and effort, your pumpkin could make the perfect Death Star or Starship Enterprise! These tend to be much more complex than simply poking a series of holes and connecting the dots; be prepared for a challenge and tinkering with the depth of your carving to create varying points of opacity and light in the design. Playing with opacity allows the carver to experiment with great "posterizing" effects; the iconic posterized image of President Obama is a great example!
Logos and Symbols Pumpkin Carving Patterns
They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery! Although they may look deceptively simple, emulating a logo or written text on a uneven surface requires a great carving pattern. Achieving the perfect recreation of a classic logo can be tough, but symbols such as the Nike swoop, the Batman bat signal, or even well-known vehicle logos are popular choices. For an extremely ambitious project, try out some written text stencils with a holiday message.
The variety of pumpkin carving patterns and stencils available today have re-vamped traditional pumpkin carving into a form of artistic expression. Whether this is your first attempt at carving or you are an experienced pumpkin master, have fun with your design!
If you want to check out some more pumpkin carving patterns and maybe download a few for yourself, check out: http://carvemypumpkin.com/pumpkin-carving-templates
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